Education: Does God Have an Opinion? by Israel Wayne is possibly the best book I’ve read on education in many years. And I read a lot of books. Its subtitle is “A biblical apologetic for Christian education and homeschooling.” The content of the book absolutely delivers what it promises. Here is my review.
I have read, applauded, “amen-ed,” quoted to my husband, and underlined so much of this book! I’m going to do my best to share why it’s so good without copying the entire text in this post. Wish me luck!
Who is this book for?
Honestly, it’s for all Christian parents. I quoted a tiny bit in my recent blog post Radical Christian Parenting, but this book is the detailed and expanded version of what I wrote. It’s for parents who wish to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” It’s for parents who are unsure or slightly convicted about the education choices they have made, or will make, for their family.
It’s also for families who have already chosen to provide a Christian education for their kids. The next time I talk to a homeschooling parent who is contemplating a return to public education, I will hand them this book. It’s the shot in the arm that Christian parents need to remind them why they chose home education and why it’s so important to continue. If you homeschool, and you didn’t start with a concrete vision, this book will promptly rectify that.
This book is not for those who do not want to be challenged in their thinking about education. No matter where you are in your parenting journey, no matter where you are in your education choices, prepare to be challenged and convicted. I was, even as a 2nd generation homeschooling mom of 19 years.
And for the record, I would love to hand out copies of Chapter 3: Socialization every time someone brings up that shallow argument. It’s that good.
Part One :The Apologetics
In the Introduction, Wayne begins with the reminder that, “Students in school classrooms spend a minimum of 10,800 seat hours being instructed by people who are not their parents. There is almost no way to calculate what a powerful force this is for influence.”
Worldview is a dominant topic of this book, and for good reason. The humanist/communist/capitalist influence in American public education is well-illustrated, as well as the lack of a Christian worldview. This is an important starting place for a book on education, specifically for Christian families. Wayne uses this to to help the reader compare God’s commands to parents to the current education that is so normal in our society.
Chapter 2 addresses public education head-on, without apology; just the naked truth. Prepare to be challenged in your thinking if you’ve always defended public education. In a mix of quotes from Christians and socialists, Wayne compares the origins and design of public schooling to the admonition of the Bible.
“We must remember that there is a vast difference between government schooling (socialistic babysitting) and education.”
“[God] never intended nor instructed the State to teach children. They are to punish evildoers and protect the citizens from harm. Education was given to parents, and Christian parents dare not neglect their responsibility.“
The “salt and light” issue is addressed (again, with scripture), with kind honesty.
As I mentioned above, the chapter on Socialization is golden. Wayne addresses each aspect of the argument with scripture, common sense, and socialization’s origins in the Communist Manifesto. Yep. You don’t want to miss this one.
But he doesn’t just address the negatives of the public-school social scene, he also gives positive, biblical encouragement for deciding what kinds of socializing your family should seek, and how to assess each one. The chapter ends with this scripture:
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” -John 17:15
There is a chapter dedicated to the subject of Christian schools, and as a student of all three school types (public, private, and home), I found myself thinking, “The author has read my exact thoughts!”
If you are a Christian-school family, you may find this chapter slightly uncomfortable. But it’s very straightforward about the pros and cons. Wayne brings up the glaringly obvious point that socialization in a private school is almost identical to that of a public school. I second this opinion.
“There are three teachers in any school. There is the person who stands at the front of the class and calls herself a teacher. There is the the curriculum. And then there is the peer group, or fellow students. The latter is the most powerful of the three.”
“I found that most (not all, of course) of the students in the Christian schools I attended did not have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Many had simply learned the art of looking churchy and saying the right things in front of the teachers.”
I could not agree more.
The remainder of Part 1 addresses the specifics of home education and biblical worldview. It’s the What, Why, and How of these two important and completed related topics of education for Christian families.
Part Two: The Core Subjects
You may be surprised to find out that a Christian education is extremely vital in each specific subject. Our worldview shapes and is shaped by mathematics, language, science, and history.
“You must remember that humans did not invent math. Not in the truest sense. We simply discovered the laws of math that were embedded into the very fabric of the universe.”
Wayne addresses each subject in the light of Scripture, worldview, and how it should be taught in Christian families. He covers logic, math, science, philosophy and apologetics, social studies, the arts, language arts, literature, history, and government. I’ve never seen each of the school subject addressed with the biblical worldview quite like this.
Stephen King (horror novels), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) are now studied and evaluated in the same league as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Chaucer, or Shakespeare. Not only are biblical standards unimportant to a post-modern society, but the traditional universal literary standards have been discarded, as anything popular becomes standard fare for libraries and literature classics. (Chapter 16, Literature.)
While philosophy may not be part of a standard K-12 curriculum, the discipline of philosophy is one that really cannot be avoided. It has to do with the study of prime beliefs and axioms. We all believe things. We all reach conclusions about life and reality. In short, we all do philosophy. It’s not a question o whether or not we will seek out the answers to the meaning of life; it’s more a question of whether we will do it formally or informally and whether we will do it well or poorly. (Chapter 12, Philosophy and Apologetics)
We don’t want to shelter our children from evolutionary theories. Quite the contrary. We want them to understand those views; we just don’t want them to receive exposure to only one view, which is what happens in government schooling. We want them to understand what secular scientists teach, but also to know what God’s Word declares to be truth. (Chapter 11, Science)
Do you know what he doesn’t mention? STEM. And I applaud him for that. Because it’s a hyped-up idea that doesn’t focus on anything that we haven’t been learning in education for hundreds of years. Math, science, engineering, technology. If you learn math and science, you’ll have the tools for engineering and technology. Bravo, Mr. Wayne.
He closes with two appendices:
Robin Hood and the Government Schools – This appendix addresses the socialist nature of the public school system in a story format that will make even PTA moms view the entire system differently. It was so good I wish I could have copied and pasted it here for you, but you’ll want to read the entire book anyway.
What the Bible Says About Education – Verse by verse, Wayne points out just how many times and places God addresses the subject of education. Because it’s not just about textbooks and math and phonics; it’s about everything discussed here, and everything a child encounters in their formative years: content, philosophy, training, peers, and more. You will come away amazed at just how often God instructed parents in the education of their children!
Spread the Love
Now, as a lifelong homeschooler, I know that one of the first objections to arise will be the obstacles families face, whether it’s money, time, or a perceived lack of qualifications. Let me just say that it’s possible for everyone who wants it. God always makes a way. I will be happy to chat with you. I know Israel Wayne will be happy to, as well. He has many books on this topic, so check out the Family Renewal website to order Education and see the other helpful resources there.
So what is the answer for families or churches who see the need, but are overwhelmed by it? Wayne has this tiny, but powerful, bit of advice, and I hope it can grow into a movement across this country:
“I know of some churches that are so committed to the concept of affordable Christian education for all of the children of the church that they have offered to subsidize the tuition of the any students in the church who want to attend Christian schools (or homeschool) but can’t afford it. Some have decided that their commitment is to evangelize and disciple their own children first, before reaching people across the oceans. They don’t allocate money for foreign missions until the Christian education needs in their own congregation are fully met.”
Isn’t that a revolutionary idea?
Order Education: Does God Have an Opinion today, and get one for a friend, too.
Review Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.
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